Why I’m Wary About the Catholic Church

A few months ago, I mentioned to someone that I was job searching. She suggested that I look into one of the Catholic agencies here in Chicago that help people find work. I expressed concern about it being a Catholic agency, wanting to know what, specifically, it meant that the agency was affiliated with the Catholic Church.

The woman got offended, actually saying that she was insulted that I would say such a thing. Then she went on with something about how the scandals don’t represent the entire Church, and I shouldn’t judge the Church when they’re just trying to help.

It was ridiculous. Frankly, I was insulted. My concerns about the Church had nothing to do with its scandals, and I resent the assumption that I would judge some agency based on that. Furthermore, it seemed overly defensive (the Church’s various scandals hadn’t been on my mind until she brought them up).

I think my concerns about the Church are quite justified. The Catholic Church as an institution has well-known negative stances towards queer and trans people. The official teachings are that being either is morally wrong (well, it kind of pretends that transfolk don’t exist, but it’s still against us). Naturally, I’m wary about becoming involved with organizations that may judge me for being queer and trans. Basically anyone who knows me should at least know (as this person should have) that I’m queer. (Trans, well, sometimes word travels more slowly than one would think.)

I suppose I wasn’t even most frustrated that she didn’t immediately get the Catholic Church/homophobia-transphobia connection — what I most resented was that she didn’t give me a chance to explain myself and instead made me out to be some judgmental jerk.

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8 responses to “Why I’m Wary About the Catholic Church

  1. Seems that she was self projecting. Seems that the first thing SHE thought of was the scandles.

  2. Right now, as I’m reading this post, there is an ad that says “Blessed are those who share” It’s for an Italian restaurant, but it says, “Click here for your communion reservations.” I just thought I’d share that with you because you’d appreciate it.

    Also, you have every right to be wary of the Catholic church. While I approve of religious organizations that do good things like find people jobs and do not approve of religious organizations that do bad things in the name of religion like hate on people for being queer/trans, even the good organizations often have staff members that believe what the bad organizations believe and that’s just not the sort of work environment you should subject yourself to. Obviously it can be hard to avoid that with a secular organization as well, but with a Catholic organization, you’re less likely to have the administration on your side of any dispute. Just my two cents.

    : )

    • “Click here for your communion reservations.” — That’s kinda fabulous. Thanks for sharing 😀

      Oh, Naomi. Thank you for seeing what I mean. It’s nice to know that you agree. Hugs!

  3. Also, next time someone behaves that way, remind them you went to Catholic school for more than half your life and that you know from experience to be wary of Catholic organizations. You’re just making assumptions based on hearsay.

  4. She’s clearly feeling insecure about it. However, if she’s acting on behalf of the organization, she needs to be professional. By acting unprofessionally, she is just reinforcing/adding to a negative impression of the Catholic Church. Being nice and understanding might be a better way to show you that the people of the church shouldn’t be judged by the actions of a few.

  5. The Catholic Church doesn’t teach that being Gay as an identity is morally wrong, but it does teach that sex outside of marriage is morally wrong. So most Americans are judged the same by the Church in this respect. It does teach that same sex attraction is disordered, but it also teaches that all people are made in the image of God and deserve respect and freedom from discrimination.

    • Actually, I am quite familiar with the Catholic Church and its teachings (I attended Catholic school for twelve years, and I’ve specifically read the passage of the Catechism regarding “homosexuality”).

      It teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong. It also teaches that any kind of sex that couldn’t result in babies is wrong. Whether it actually believes that being gay is wrong is debatable — technically, their position is that being gay isn’t wrong (gay sex is wrong). However, it does teach that, as you put it, “same sex attraction is disordered” — and I think that “disordered” gets awfully close to “wrong.” If you haven’t seen this, you might want to check it out: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/3902931/Pope-Saving-world-from-homosexuality-like-saving-rainforests.html

      Part of the issue that I don’t see being queer/gay/otherwise non-hetero as being wrong. I think it’s rather fantastic, actually. And when I say “queer,” I don’t just mean the identity, or the attractions, or something like that — I mean it in the most inclusive sense possible, including a vibrant life full of politics and queer sex and all kinds of stuff that the Church doesn’t like. In other words, I don’t think the “love the sinner, hate the sin” idea is applicable. While the Church might not technically think I’m morally wrong for whoever it is I’m attracted to, it definitely would disagree with my views on what it means to be queer and how I live my life (and that I’m trans and how that affects my life as well).

      By the by, I don’t identify as gay (or Gay). It usually takes me a few seconds to figure out who people think I’m attracted to when they call me that (and when they reference me and straightness, too, for that matter).

      Also, frankly, I think the Catholic Church has a tendency to pay lip service to the idea that “all people are made in the image of God and deserve respect and freedom from discrimination.” When it comes to whether they actually believe people deserve respect from discrimination, I think it really only applies to people who play by their rules. For the rest of us, well, too bad.

      Mind you, I’m not talking about all Catholics, just the Catholic Church as an institution. But thank you for commenting.

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